Although the start of 2012 is still several months away, The Alliance is already three months into our fiscal year 2012, which began on June 1, 2011. I’d like to use this month’s column to share some of the key initiatives we are pursuing as part of our FY12 business plan. Initiatives are selected that will further our mission of moving health care forward by controlling costs, improving quality and engaging individuals in their health. We use the question: will this add value to our members? as an important filter. Finding additional ways to bend the trend for our members is a top priority.

Key initiatives for FY 12 include:

  • Geographic expansion of The Alliance service area – The number one request we hear from our members is to expand our service area. Northern Illinois is among the most frequently requested areas. We are nearing completion of our provider outreach efforts in Rockford, Ill. and are honored to be the only entity with all three major Rockford health systems under contract in the same network. Our outreach to Alliance members and prospects whose employees use providers in northern Illinois will begin shortly. In FY12, we’ll be evaluating other markets in Wisconsin and Iowa where expansion will help current members while providing opportunities to further grow our cooperative.
  • Value-based benefit design – Over the past several years, we have expanded our product and service offerings to help you help your employees improve their health and receive more coordinated health care. Maintaining or improving health status while ensuring efficient use of health care services when needed are two key ways to control health care costs and improve outcomes.In FY 12, we’ll be launching a pilot project with interested members to leverage the power of benefit design to encourage healthy behaviors and use of high-value health services and providers, while discouraging use of services where the evidence of effectiveness is thin or non-existent. We envision that this project will promote a strategic approach to health benefits as participants learn with and from one another about how to engage employees in health and high value health care to control costs, improve health and outcomes.
  • Provider Payment Reform – We know that redesigning the way we pay for health care is a prerequisite to transforming the current fee-for-service system to one that is focused on getting the best results for patients at the lowest possible costs. The Alliance has been at the forefront of the payment reform movement since we added performance-based reimbursement components in our contracts over seven years ago.In FY 12, we will join forces with other local payers and providers to intensify our efforts to reward results through the Wisconsin-based Partnership for Healthcare Payment Reform (PHPR). The Alliance is a founding member of PHPR, which is testing new methods to align financial incentives to get better value care.

These are some of the more significant initiatives which we are pursuing to increase the value of your membership in The Alliance.

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